New technologies have the potential to revolutionize the mortgage industry, but they also come with the risk of violating fair lending laws, according to Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr.

Barr spoke at a conference on Wednesday, saying that new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data have the potential to make the mortgage process more efficient and to silver new light on previously hidden risks. However, he cautioned that these same technologies could be used to discriminate against borrowers on the basis of race, ethnicity, or other protected characteristics.

Barr called on the industry to self-regulate and to design fair lending safeguards into new technologies from the outset. He also urged regulators to keep a close watch on how these technologies are being used and to take enforcement action when necessary.

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